Buford, Decatur, Oconee County, Forsyth County and Bremen top a 2015 ranking of metro Atlanta's best public school districts. Fulton and DeKalb counties, and Atlanta Public Schools come in at Nos. 14, 45 and 43 on the list, respectively.
The Niche Rankings -- the product of Niche.com, a "reviews and insights" website focused on neighborhoods and education -- graded 8,738 school districts "based on dozens of key statistics and 4.6 million opinions from 280,000 students and parents."
Niche's top 10 public school districts in the metro Atlanta area are:
- Buford City Schools
- Decatur City Schools
- Oconee County Schools
- Forsyth County Schools
- Bremen City Schools
- Gwinnett County Schools
- Carrollton City Schools
- Morgan County Schools
- Marietta City Schools
- Cherokee County Schools
These top five schools also top a corresponding statewide ranking, which sees Fulton County drop to No. 18, while DeKalb County and Atlanta city schools fail to crack the top 100. (Niche graded an additional 561 districts but did not rank them, because it said they did not have at least 85 percent of the required factors.)
Buford City Schools received an A for academics, an A for health and safety, an A+ for student culture and diversity, and a 4.6 out of 5 in the parent and student survey of overall experience, from 17 respondents.
By contrast, Atlanta Public Schools received a C for academics, a C for health and safety, and a C+ for sports and fitness -- but a B for teachers, and a B+ for resources and facilities. The district was scored a 3.6 out of 5 for overall excellence, out of 259 parent and student surveys.
The rankings use "data sourced from various government and public data sets, Niche’s own proprietary data, and 4,624,238 opinion-based survey responses across a variety of topics from 287,606" students, alumni and parents, according to the site's methodology.
For example, Niche analyzes graduation rates, AP enrollment, the student-teacher ratio and state assessment proficiency (among other factors) for its academics grade. Learn more about that specific breakdown here.
Niche also published a set of college rankings, which higlighted Emory, the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.
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